Scars and Stories: How I Learned to Read (Though Sheer Stubborness)

Intro:

Every book blogger has a story of how they got into reading or what book insinuated the love of reading in them. This is my story, except my “learning to love to read” story is also my “literally learning to read story”.

Story Time:

Every kindergartener in America starts reading by learning sight words, and by the time they get to first grade they can read picture books on their own. Right?

Well, I went to a private school from preschool until first grade, and they were more math than reading oriented. Reading was basically something that was used to understand the directions on worksheets and that’s it. We didn’t actually read books. I don’t think I read a book until the second grade. That is when I really learned to read. (I mean, I’m pretty sure I read picture books and stuff. But not much else.)

Now, I had an amazing teacher in second grade. I was ahead in everything but reading compared to my class. I went from my slightly advanced private school to an inclusive class (by the fourth quarter they switched me to Gifted – yes, most of the way through the year) to put things in perspective. I went from a first grade reading level to sixth grade level by the end of the year with her. I was at a college reading level by the end of third grade.

The first chapter book I read? Harry Potter.

Sounds crazy? Well, I was a stubborn child (I still am).

I watched the first four movies and was dying to know what happened, so seven year old me decided she wanted to read the books. Didn’t matter that I could just barely read Magic Tree House on my own, I was determined. The school library wouldn’t let me check out the books, but my grandma bought me the boxed set for my birthday/christmas (something around there – this was a decade ago give me a break).

Mind you, I struggled greatly. And Harry Potter was interpreted with listening to the first book on audio to help me out (which we soon learned I wasn’t all that thrilled with – I hate audiobooks, I would literally fall asleep), as well as Cornelia Funke’s books, and stuff  like Series of Unfortunate Events (which I read out of order because at 7 I did not yet really understand the concept of series being in a particular order).

Eventually, I stubborned my way through all the Harry Potter books in a little over a year. My dad used to have to help me read words like “chandelier” but I could read things like “ectoplasm” just fine. I think I confused him.

My reading ability couldn’t be attributed just to Harry Potter – though it was my primary motivation to wanting to. I also had a thing where I liked having subtitles on TV shows  – mind you, I was the kind of kid that was so obsessed with Pokemon, I’d watch the newest movie in Japanese with English subtitles because I couldn’t wait the six months for a Dubbed release.

This Pokemon obsession was the other motivation behind wanting to learn to read – beginning even before the Harry Potter one. I was really into playing Pokemon Channel on the GameCube and Pokemon Leafgreen on the game boy – but Pokemon games are pretty dependent on reading, so I’d have to wait for my dad to help me out (I was 3/4/5 okay?). So, literally, I wanted to learn to read so I could lay Pokemon on my own. I’m pretty sure my first sight words were things like “Pikachu used Thundershock” or something.

After:

Mind you, my stubbornness over reading didn’t end once I’d mastered it. I tried to read Pride and Prejudice when I was 8 (I got bored and read Holly Black and Rick Riordan instead but still – I got a ways through it).

When I was 9, I read all the Twilight books – despite being told repeatedly I was too young and even getting my book confiscated so the teacher could confirm with my mother that I was permitted to read it. I probably would have stopped after the second book because I was, well 9, and a lot went over my head. But I was told I shouldn’t/couldn’t so I finished them. And liked. And started a shipping war among the nine-year-olds once the movie came out and we all begged to see it. Yeah, I was that kid.

I read Hunger Games in fifth grade and gave my dad a heart attack by sobbing hysterically in the car when Rue died – and loudly scream/begging for the next book – despite him beginning to think it was a mistake to let his 10 year old read such violence.

By my last semester of fifth grade, I’d literally run out of books grade level or higher in the ENTIRE SCHOOL LIBRARY to read. Not ones that interested me. All of them. I can’t name beyond about 20 or so favorites that I read through all of elementary school (10 Ways to Make My Sister Disappear, Regarding The Fountain, Awful End, Ghosthunters, Heir Apparent, Companions Quartet, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, The Girl Who Could Fly, Inkheart, Amber Brown, Ramona and Beezus, Suddenly Supernatural, Molly Moon, Peter and the Starcatachers, The Magic Half, Scat, Etc.). My teacher had to allow me to read below grade level books so I could reach my minimum for a grade. Yeah, it was pretty insane. I sat for an hour with a stack of picture books, reading and taking AR tests for .5 points each until I got what I needed.

I was the kid who got in trouble for reading under the desk a lot. I once got grounded from reading and was told to watch TV because I was being a smart mouth (my dad told me to do the dishes, and I said child labor was illegal…and continued arguing this point for a while – I was like, 8).

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Scars & Stories: Asexuality

I haven’t done a scars and stories post in a long time, not since (and I just checked this) October of 2016. I’ve only done about 5 total in the over-a-year since I’ve started these…new blogging goal, actually WRITE MY OWN FEATURES.

I’m getting off track.

So, I’ve mentioned that I identify as asexual (ace) a couple of times on this blog, but its never really been anything I’ve talked about, mostly just because it didn’t feel like the sort of thing to talk about in the middle of a book tag or whatever.

And I thought it’d make a good Scars & Stories prompt, so here we are.


Definitions:

Asexuality, if you don’t know, means a lack of sexual attraction. It is NOT the same thing as being romantic, which is a lack of romantic attraction, which I don’t think I identify as.

Asexuality is a spectrum, and there are different kinds, and honestly I don’t know everything about it, but there is different extents, such as:
-Complete asexuality where you experience attraction under no circumstances.
-Demi-sexuality, where you experience sexual attraction to someone only after falling in love with them.
-There is sex-apethtic, where sex doesn’t excite you but doesn’t repulse you.
-And semi-repulsed which is pretty self explanatory.


Where I Fall:

I honestly don’t really know where exactly I fall on the spectrum. I know I’m ace, and maybe I’m demi-, but I know I’m not aromantic, because I do want to get married and have kids one day. WHICH IS SOMETHING ACE PEOPLE CAN DO BY THE WAY. Like, after I graduate from college though. I do not want to be a teen mother.

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Story Time:

So I started identifying as ace in freshman year of high school, so I was 14/15 (depending on the month – I don’t quite remember).

I do remember the moment quite vividly though.

In my high school, I am a part of a magnet (basically meaning special/advanced) program – I’m in the Biomedical academy. First year biomed is basically basic anatomy and physiology as at simplified level. And in this class we had a sex-ed program called “Be Hip”. And to their credit they touched upon different sexualities. They also mentioned something called the Kinsey Scale.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. Our teacher leaves us alone for a while. And since we’re the good kids at nerd school, we don’t start wrecking havoc, but rather decide to take this Kinsey Scale test that we had heard about on our phones.

So, we pass the phone around the table to take the test.

(Sidebar – The Kinsey Scale is a sexuality measurement test named after a psychologist whose focus of study/research was human sexuality and its variations. It goes from 1-6. A 1 means entirely heterosexual, a 6 is entirely homosexual, a 3 is bisexual with even preference, 2’s and 4’s are graduations meaning you are willing to try and/or like both sexes but lean mostly one way or another. An X stands for no-sexuality or, asexual.)

Most of my friends get 1’s (completely straight), one girl gets a 3 (bi- but she had already come out to us and so we were entirely unsurprised). I got an X – this was not something we understood.

So, we looked up what asexuality was – and everyone basically agreed it applied to me. I was, after all, the only one in our entire friend group who, not only hadn’t had a boyfriend/girlfriend but also had never even had a crush on anyone.

This obviously doesn’t set anything in stone. The Kinsey Scale isn’t foolproof, sexuality is a fluid, personal thing. And it was mostly a joke, everyone basically assumed I just didn’t like anyone yet and would grow out of it.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was true. But it felt weird to say that, since I knew I still wanted to have a family one day – and that seemed at odds.

But I learned more about the spectrum, and while I don’t know exactly where I fall on it – I know I do fall somewhere on it.

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Parents’ Reaction

Now, being asexual is not quite as dramatic a revelation as coming out as other sexualities. But I do have a pretty funny story.

My dad still mostly affirms that I’ll grow out of it, but I’m about 90% sure he’s joking.

My mom on the other hand…

Flash forward a few more weeks, my mom is driving me to school. And she’s been working late so I hadn’t talked to her much about school.

So she’s asking me about my friends and what we’re doing in school, in biomed etc. Off handedly I mention “we took the Kinsey scale test in class”, and said nothing more on it. After a beat my mom says, “So did you get an X” – cue screeching rewound record noise, I remember suddenly that my mother has a MASTERS DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY. She very much knows what the Kinsey scale is. I ask how she knew I got an X, she says “I know my daughter” – that is the one and only conversation we have ever had about it.

While I don’t talk to my parents much about it, it is something that comes up at school a considerable amount. Especially since my best friend just started dating, everyone now thinks I should to – the Sam’s Asexual thing comes up a lot more now, but at least its stopped being such a joke. I think people finally realized its very, very, legitimate.

 


That’s all I have to say really.

Its not very exciting/dramatic but it is a story I wanted to share.

Do any of you identify as asexual?

Did this help you understand asexuality better if you didn’t before?

Do you want to see more of these Scars & Stories posts?

Let me know!

 

Throwback Thursday: Much Ado About Nothing Act 3 Scene 4 – 2014 – Valley Girl Rewrite

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


(Enter Hero, Margaret, and Ursula)

Hero:  Ursula, could you, like, wake up, Beatrice? Cuz, like, you know, today’s my wedding day and she needs to, like, help me into my dress. OMG where is she?

Ursula:  Fine.

(Looks in the distance)

(Hero taps her shoulder)

Hero:  Ursula?

Ursula:  Ya?

Hero:  NOW!

Ursula:  Ok, ok. Shish. Like, take a chill pill.

(She exits)

Hero:  Shoo. Ok, Margaret, like, this is, like, my dress. What do you, like, think girl?

Margaret:  I think, like, that looks like one of those, ummm, dresses from Shakespeare’s time. What was that, like, called again?

(Looks in dictionary on phone)

Hero:  Margaret!

Margaret:  Gosh! Girl, I like, already found it. It was like, called a rebato. Ok, so that dress, like, looks like a rebato, ummm… But extra ugly.

Hero:  What?!

Margaret:  Especially on you.

Hero:  Ok, like, what’s your damage and, like, call the fashion police, cuz you girl, have no style.

Margaret:  Pah-lease, girl. You’re the one, like, with no style. Have you, like, not seen the dress?

Hero:  Whatevs, you’re just jealous.

Margaret:  Am not!

(Stamps foot)

Hero:  OMG! This dress is, like, so heavy!

Margaret:  It’ll, like, be heavier soon. You know, with a man on it.

(Covers her ears)

 Hero:  Oh my gosh, no! Like, my virgin ears! Why would you, like, say something like that?

Margaret:  What? Like, we all know it’s true. I mean, like, you are getting married, you know. What did you, like, think was gonna happen?

Hero: OMG! Like, where’s Beatrice?

(“Deleted Scene” Ursula gets Beatrice)

Ursula:  Beatrice, like, wake up girl! Hero, like, needs your help.

Beatrice:  Uh, why?! Like, it’s not my problem she can’t get dressed by herself.

Ursula:  Well, she is, like, getting married and, like, you are her cousin so…, like, go.

Beatrice:  Uh! Fine, whatever. But really, marriage is bor-ing!

(Back to Hero’s room – Enter Beatrice)

Hero:  Hey girl! Like, finally!

Beatrice:  Hey, like, Ursula said you, like, needed something.

Hero:  Ya, but are you, like, sick or something? OMG if you are, like, get away from me! I CANNOT get sick on my wedding day. (Hides behind Ursula)

Beatrice:  Ok… But no, like, probably not. Just, like ummm, a headache or something.

Margaret (to Hero):  Oh, she’s not sick, girl. She’s in love, like, L-O-V-E, love.

Beatrice (to Margaret): Congrats, you can spell.

Hero (to Margaret):  What kind of other, like, love is there?

Beatrice:  Uh, no girls, I’m not in love. And you can’t talk to me like that, Margaret. You work for me, like, remember!

Margaret:  I do remember but, like, you ARE in love. And I also, like, know the cure for your sickness.

Ursula (to the side): Uh, please don’t kill each other; bloods like, so hard to get out.

(Rolls her eyes)

Beatrice (to Margaret):  What?

Margaret:   Like, Benedick. Duh!

Beatrice: OMG, NO!

Hero:  OMG, YES! I, like, totally ship you guys.

(Beatrice evilly stares at Hero)

Hero: Sorry.

Margaret:  Whatever, we all, like, know it’s true, Ms. In Denial.

Beatrice:  Whatevs, and you know what? I do feel sick, but, like, Benedick is not my cure. It’s, like, to get this stupid wedding over with. Sorry, Hero. Come on, let’s just, like, get you ready.   (To the side after looking at the dress: egh, gag me with a spoon.)

(Ursula gets text)

Ursula:  Girls, Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Don John, and, like, ALL the other cute guys in town have come to, like, take you to the church.

Hero:  Oh. My. Gosh, it’s, like, almost time. Come on Margaret, Ursula, Beatrice. Like, we have a wedding to attend.

 (They exit)


 

Story time!

So, I didn’t write this by myself. I wrote it in 8th grade with a group of three other girls. We have to dress up and perform this in front of the class.

For the project, the teacher essentially assigned each group a scene and an accent and told us to have at it.

So, we rewrote the scene with a modern setting and valley girl vernacular, as stereotypical as we could be. We dressed in all pink and sequins, did outrageous makeup (all bright colors and way too much of it) and everything.

It was fun, we got an A.

But when we were done and had to change back into our uniforms we realized that no one brought make up remover… So me and my best friend had to walk into are next class with bright purple eye shadow smeared all over, smeared all over mascara/eye liner and so much concealer/foundation that didn’t actually match our skin.

Our teacher was so confused and concerned. She thought I had a black eye.